Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Day is Waiting - a bookwrap

A jack of all trades, Don Freeman was an accomplished painter, print maker, cartoonist, children’s books author, illustrator and jazz musician. Initially his illustrations depicted daily life in New York City, and he left no one out of his drawings. As his career went on, he began to draw more light hearted subjects and eventually begin illustrating books for children’s. His wife was also an accomplished artist, but she typically authored the books and let her husband illustrate them. Together they eventually released more than 20 books, including Chuggy and the Blue Caboose and Pet of the Met. They believed that simplicity was the key to creating excellent books.

Linda Zuckerman grew up in Brooklyn and has lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost fifteen years. She has been a children's book editor for more than forty years on both coasts, having held executive editorial positions at several major publishing houses. Linda is the editor of three books that were awarded the Caldecott Medal and two that received Newbery Honor citations.

I Will Hold You 'Til You Sleep is her first work as an author.  "I don't know how, why, or when, but when the phrase 'I will hold you while you sleep" came to me, it seemed like the beginning of something," says Linda.  "I put it aside for several years and did other things.  Then at one point I looked at it again.  Although I liked the alliteration of "will/while," it seemed to me to be uncomfortably obsessive to hold a child 'while' he/she slept, so I changed it to 'I will hold you 'til you sleep.'  Not as musical, but better for the child." she states.  " I wanted to write something that expressed a heartfelt ideal of the adult-child bond: that by loving and respecting all children, we provide a foundation in empathy and caring that they can pass along to others throughout their lives."

Linda Zuckerman lives with her husband, an artist, near Portland, Oregon.


The author of  The Day is Waiting—Linda Zuckerman.

I first met Don Freeman in 1972, shortly after I joined The Viking Press (now Viking Penguin) as an editor in the children's book department. Don had already published more than 15 books at Viking, including the classic, Corduroy. Since we knew in advance when Don would be arriving in New York from Santa Barbara, we cleared our desks. He always arrived with arms full of gifts for secretaries and designers; he took everyone out to lunch. He demanded, and received, all our attention. We loved it; he loved it.
I worked on five books with Don, including A Pocket for Corduroy, a title I suggested to him. (His startling response was, "I've always wanted to do a book set in a laundromat." And so he did. Check it out: the artist in the beret, doing his laundry, bears an 
uncanny resemblance to the author.) 

After Don's death in 1978, I flew to Santa Barbara to meet with Lydia, his widow, hoping to find a last book that might be ready for publication. Don's studio was crammed with several hundred sketches and incomplete dummy books, all in different media and sizes, but nothing we could publish. Lydia and I spent hours sorting through the material. In the end, I picked about 75 individual images that appealed to me. Lydia sent black-and-white copies to New York.
One early Saturday morning I came into the quiet office and spread the copies on the floor. I looked at them, thinking, "Tell me what you want to be." Don's spirit hovered above; the Muse listened. By the end of the day, I had written a short, simple verse to go with the 26 pieces of art I had selected.
Now, with the support of Roy Freeman, the artist's son, and the excellent staff at Zonderkidz, the book is available again, 35 years later. I like to think Don would be as pleased as I am.
- Linda Zuckerman



The Day Is Waiting, illustrated by New York Times bestselling illustrator of Corduroy, Don Freeman, takes readers on a tour of our wonderful world and reminds us that no matter how far we roam, we always have home to come back to.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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